The former undisputed
heavyweight champion of the
world is now a motivational
Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson is due to speak at an event in Auckland in November but could be denied a New Zealand visa due to his 1992 conviction for rape.
The former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, now 46, is due to embark on a tour of Australia and New Zealand giving motivational talks but his New Zealand leg of the tour has been thrown into doubt after New Zealand immigration officials.
Tyson was imprisoned at the height of his boxing career for the 1991 rape of Desiree Washington, the then-Miss Black Rhode Island, in an Indianapolis hotel room. Tyson was sentenced to six years in prison, he was paroled after three.
New Zealand immigration law currently stipulates that anyone who has served a prison term of five years or more is ineligible for a visa.
However, as Tyson only served three years and is a public figure who has turned his life around since his much publicised bankruptcy in 2003 and drug dependency problems, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) have refused to categorically state whether his visa application will be denied.
"Mike Tyson will have to apply for a visa to enter New Zealand and make full disclosure of his previous convictions," read an INZ statement.
"There is never a guarantee that any visa application will be approved. All visa applications are considered on their individual circumstances.
"The Immigration Act 2009 allows for discretion to be exercised in certain cases."
Tyson is expected to be joined on his tour by fellow motivational speakers Willey Jolley, Stephen Young and Loral Langmeier.
The former boxer, who still holds the record for youngest boxer to win the WBC, WBA and TBF heavyweight titles, which he did at just 20 years old and retired with a record of 50 wins in 58 fights with 44 knockouts, expressed his excitement and travelling to New Zealand and Australia.
"I'm so excited to be visiting Australia and New Zealand for the first time," he said in a statement.
"I have lots of friends there and look forward to meeting all my fans."
- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor for the New Zealand Visa Bureau.
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